Strays and Kings

A stray dog that resisted the authorities slipped in the photo of the Kings of Spain walking through Old Havana. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Marcelo Hernández, Havana, 15 November 2019 — The fact that the Zoonosis Canine Observation Center circulated its vehicles through several Havana municipalities to clean the city of stray dogs a few days earlier, was of little use.

The idea of a clean, organized city with no abandoned animals broke down in a second, when the Spanish royals Queen Letizia and King Felipe VI made their way through the historic center of the Cuban capital accompanied by a stray mutt that even the entourage of bodyguards, officials and journalists who accompanied the royals was not able to remove.

Some say that the dog that crossed their majesty’s path was simply a character intended to clean the image left behind by the massive collection and subsequent sacrifice of abandoned animals before the arrival of the royal couple.

Others prefer to interpret its presence as a symbol of resistance and claim of creatures that have suffered neglect, abuse and the absence of rights forever. For them, that mongrel represented all the dogs and cats that are waiting for an Animal Protection Law, regulations that more and more activists loudly demand.

So next to Felipe’s guayabera and Letizia’s impeccable dress, the tanned and somewhat dirty spine of this Havana mutt passed by. His daring presence in the real photos was overshadowed by the uproar caused by the dress of the Cuban first lady, Lis Cuesta, who stole the prominence of the day due to her inappropriate attire for the steamy Cuban sun. Regardless, whatever you want to call him: Spot, Rex, Lucky, Sparky or Champ… although it is very likely that he has no name, he slipped into the visit of the Spanish royals to Cuba.

They will leave, but he must continue to deal with the hard life on the streets of Cuba.


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